Art Therapy is a mental health profession that integrates the use of active art-making, creative process, and applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. It is used with individuals, families, and communities to effectively support personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience,
promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change. Art therapists work with people of all ages across a broad spectrum of practice. Guided by ethical standards and scope of practice, their education and supervised training prepares them for culturally proficient work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. We honor our individual client’s values and beliefs, and work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems. There are also individuals who seek emotional, creative, and spiritual growth that benefit from Art Therapy. Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities invite alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can circumvent the limitations of language. Art making creates the distancing needed to recognize the existing situation in front of us. The process is of utmost importance rather than the product. The client discovers the meaning for himself of the work he created, and processes the art with the guidance and support of the art therapist. This process aids in developing the capacity for profound insight, expanded vision, epiphany and revelation.
Expression through creativity allows the client to employ a stance from a “witness perspective” so that it is possible to gain an improved understanding of true feelings, as well as patterns of belief which impact actions and choices. The creative process aids in developing wellness from within, uncovers potentials, and helps clarify the actions that the client needs to take in order to achieve his goals..
Research in neuroscience has validated the value of using creative means to facilitate flexibility in the brain. Functional MRI of human brains has shown changes occurring during art making which facilitates new neural developments and changes patterns of fear and depression into relaxation and positive emotions. Traumatic event images can be substituted by calm and positive experiences which will create change by thoughts and images cultivated in the mind. There are lasting positive effects which are created by images viewed through the mind’s eye. Using creative expression to sustain focus on chosen images improves mental functioning and also facilitates physical healing.